25 June 2008

Still 13 common dolphins around Kalamos - let's not see them disappear!

Yesterday, June 24th, a group of 12 common dolphins was sighted by the Tethys team (Marina, Marcel, Shiva and one volunteer) south of the island of Lefkada, within the 'Kalamos' study area.

The group included 9 adults, 1 juvenile and 2 calves. All these animals had been previously catalogued and are known to the research team. The group included both females (Nigel, Lins and Simon) and males (Elisa, Aetos and 93023), plus three other adults of unknown gender.

The juvenile was the third son of Lins, and the two calves were the fourth and the second sons of Nigel and Simon, respectively.

The group was followed for about two hours and all the animals could be photo-identified based on 213 digital photographs.

This is the third sighting of common dolphins in June 2008. The first sighting was of a lone individual (Fiocco). The second was of Nigel with her son.

Observations conducted so far in the context of ongoing monitoring show that there are still at least 13 common dolphins around Kalamos. This is very good news considering the dramatic decline observed over the past decade.

Last year, only 15 common dolphins were estimated to have survived around Kalamos (ten years ago there were 150 animals). Being able of documenting the persistence of at least a small common dolphin unit is important as this shows that recovery would still be possible if timely action is taken. Management measures to facilitate recovery have been defined into detail and proposed to the relevant authorities. We hope that such measures will be taken soon and that this relict community - one of the last living in the central Mediterranean - can be rescued.

Should managers and Governments fail to do so, they will cast a shadow over their commitments to protect endangered cetacean populations.

Giovanni Bearzi

For more information:
Common dolphins around Kalamos, Greece

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